Monday, August 14, 2006

Advice for Parents

Steve Blow of the Dallas Morning News has some great advice for parents at the start of this new school year:

Parents must be in charge of their children's education. To put it plainly: The success or failure of your child's education is up to you.

We spend a lot of time talking about "fixing" schools. The truth is that few are broken. The much bigger problem is parents who have forgotten their vital role. When that happens, schools struggle.

Teachers have a hard time discussing this. It sounds like they're making excuses. But it's true.

As a parent, you have the power to make a complete failure of the very best teacher or finest school. How? Easy. Just say bad things about the school to your child. Tell how unfair teachers were to you. Criticize a lot. Or simply take no interest at all. Trust me, your attitude will quickly be your child's attitude.

On the other hand, if you are excited about school, chances are your child will be, too. Make it clear how important education is to you. Set high goals. Volunteer at school if you can. At least introduce yourself to the teacher. Don't hesitate to make an appointment as soon as concerns arise. Working as a team is everything.

At home, talk about school. Make it fun. Praise. Encourage. Turn off the TV for a while each night. Make that homework time. Or reading time.

If you didn't love school, that's OK. You're still the key to your child's success. Visit a school counselor to learn ways of helping.

If big, big problems arise, consider moving your child to another school. Learn your options. Sounds drastic, but remember: You're in charge.

Real school reform begins at home.


Mary Lee said...

Thank you for the link! I jumped right over to the full article, copied it, and pasted it on my school webpage! Hopefully a parent or two will read it and make a New (school) Year's Resolution about their attitude towards the work we do in public education!

Camille said...

Good for you for putting it on your website. I appreciated how Steve Blow asked people to share the column. Now, if we could just get parents to read and subscribe to the principles in 'My Shining Star' by Rosemary Wells.